Whitby Town Council

Information for Residents & Visitors

Town Clerk: Michael King
Whitby Town Council, Pannett
Park, Whitby, North Yorkshire
YO21 1RE

First World War Project - "Out of the Darkness"


Thanks to National Lottery players, Whitby Town Council is running a National Lottery funded project "Out of the Darkness", to commemorate the Centenary of the ending of the First World War.

We are now looking for local people to help us with this project. We will be exploring the heritage of the First World War through the lives of people living at the time and through the impact of the war on clothing design.

There are a number of ways people can get involved in this project.

  1. We are looking to recruit a Project Coordinator and a Costume Facilitator to oversee the delivery of different aspects of the project and to work with community groups to ensure the project reaches as broad an audience as possible.
  2. We are recruiting a team of volunteers to help us work with local people to research and gather historic accounts, memories and anecdotes about family members who were living at the time of the First World War.
  3. We need local people to share their stories of any relatives that lived during World War One. We are encouraging people to look back in time one hundred years, to investigate the lives and experiences of family members. We want to collect these stories and personal histories of family members who contributed to or were affected by the First World War whether through childhood, active service, medical occupations, support services, factory, farming, or other industry. These personal histories will be presented in an exhibition which will raise awareness of and celebrate the lives of these family members.
  4. We want to work with local young people to investigate the influence of the war on clothing design. Through this research and design project we will create a range of First World War inspired garments which will be presented in a fashion show and exhibited alongside the personal stories gathered.

To find out more or if you or your community group are interested in delivering or taking part in any element of this project please contact us by emailing info@whitbytowncouncil.gov.uk or phone 01947 820227.

First Workshop

Come along to the Pannett Art Gallery on Thursday 20th September, 10am – 12 noon or Wednesday 26th September 1 – 3pm to share the stories of your family's involvement in the First World War or to find out how else you can get involved with this project.

Thanks to National Lottery players, Whitby Town Council have received Heritage Lottery funding to explore the effects of the First World War on Whitby and its people today through the stories of family members living at the time.

We want to recruit a small team of enthusiastic individuals to help us collect these stories and we want to hear from people with stories to tell.

Do you know what your relatives were doing during the war?

Did family members go off to fight? And if so did they survive?

Did you have a female relative who had to stay and run the family home? Or who had to take on a role previously carried out by a man?

Were they a child living through the war? What was this like?

More than one million Service Men and Women gave their lives in the First World War so that future generations can live theirs. We will commemorate those who died, those who came home and those whose lives were touched in any way.

It might be a grandparent, great aunt or uncle, distant cousin or close relative – whatever the connection we are interested to hear their stories.

If you have a story to tell then the town council would like to hear from you.

Project Co-ordinator Jo Davis said "If you would like to work as a volunteer to help gather photos and stories, if you have a story you would like to share or if you just want to know more about the project we would love to hear from you."

Come along to the Pannett Art Gallery on Thursday 20th September, 10am – 12 noon or Wednesday 26th September 1 – 3pm or email us at info@whitbytowncouncil.gov.uk

The project will also be looking at clothing and how the war impacted on the design of garments so there will be some textiles workshops happening as the project progresses. If you come along on Wednesday 26th we will also be running a crochet workshop. During the war knitting and crochet were both used to make hats and balaclava, gloves and mittens, and vests and jackets. Join us to crochet "ear protectors" for the troops

If you can't crochet then Costume Facilitator Rebecca Riley will teach you.

Do come along, get involved, share your family stories and help us commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War – our project needs you.

If you can't make the workshops do get in touch by email: info@whitbytowncouncil.gov.uk or by phone: 01947 820227 and ask for the "Out of the Darkness" project team.

Whitby Town Council Needs Your Knitting and Stitching

Can you help to Knit, Stitch or Crochet for Whitby?

Thanks to National Lottery players, Whitby Town Council is running a National Lottery funded project "Out of the Darkness", to commemorate the Centenary of the ending of the First World War.

Working with local young people to explore the impact of the First World War on clothing design the Town Council will be running a series of research, design and making workshops. These garments will be presented in a World War One themed fashion show and display.

During the First World War there were many people who were unable to join the armed forces but who still wanted to "Do Their Bit" for the war effort.

Women, children and men unable to serve in the military contributed in many other ways, including making knitted and crocheted gloves, scarves, balaclavas, cardigans and socks to include in "comfort packages" which were sent to the troops.

If you love knitting or crocheting please help us by Knitting for Whitby.

We need your help to produce scarves, mittens, ear warmers or balaclavas for our young models to wear in the First World War themed Fashion Show.

If you are beginner do send us your knitted or crocheted squares to be made into bunting. Or you could embrace the ethos of re-using and re-making to create similar items, such as making arm / leg warmers from the sleeves of old jumpers.

If stitching is more your thing then we would love people to embrace the First World War ethos of re-using and recycling old fabrics, to make bunting to be displayed at the Fashion Show.

Fashion project Coordinator Rebecca Riley said "We are using First World War ideas for a 21st Century fashion show so please don't feel the need to find authentic colours, we would love you to use up old balls of wool, or even recycle knitting that is no longer worn."

Please send your finished garment or bunting squares to Pannett Art Gallery, Pannett Park, Whitby, YO21 1RE or just drop them in at the Gallery reception desk.

If communal crafting appeals more than solitary knitting or crocheting or you need a little inspiration then bring your knitting along to a craft session in the Pannett Art Gallery on Saturday 20th October, 10.30am – 3pm where you can also see a selection of First World War patterns and designs.

Make Do and Mend in the First World War

The idea of promoting reusing, recycling, repairing and saving was first introduced in the First World War and included a diverse range of imaginative activities and processes.

Although it did not become a propaganda slogan until the Second World War domestic households were encouraged to follow the ethos of Make Do and Mend to help counter shortages or to avoid hunger.

The Government and the media promoted all kinds of enterprising activities. People were encouraged to mend, remake or refresh clothes with remnants and netting as well as to find ingenious ways to make their limited food supplies go further.

This attitude was embraced by people living at the time and activities ranged from using fig leaves as a dye for funereal silk to making "butter" from mashed potatoes, keeping chickens or donating waste to feed pigs.

Not all these ideas worked and some food replacements were inedible, whilst others were regularly included in a weekly menu.

Knitting in the First World War.

Many people spent the war years turning out thousands of socks for soldiers they didn't know.

If they didn't know how to knit before the war, once the call came out for socks many people learned. Beginners would start with simple squares which were stitched together to make blankets.

People came together in groups to knit, helping people to feel less isolated, but also continued at home, on the bus, at meetings, in fact wherever they could, people were knitting.

Children were encouraged to help and were taught to knit at school or in Girl Guide and Boy Scout meetings.

Knitters sometimes tucked a message into the finished garment for the soldier who would receive it, to remind him that he was in their prayers.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.